Federal judge dismisses lawsuit challenging State Bar activities

by Kathleen O. Beitiks
Staff Writer


Because attorneys are allowed to deduct a portion of their annual fees attributed to the barís political activities, Judge Burrell said the plaintiffs failed to show that they have been forced to support the barís political positions.

In addition, the allegation that the requirement of identifying oneís bar membership in court documents violates First Amendment rights "can hardly be considered an endorsement of the State Barís political positions," wrote Burrell.

In other legislative news, a bill which would keep State Bar annual dues at $458 for the next two years was sent to the governor last month, ending months of criticism and compromise on the part of the legislature and bar leaders.

While the bill sets fees at $458 per year for most active members, the actual fee is $448, which includes a $10 rebate for the next two years.

The governor has until Oct. 12 to sign the bill.

The bill also requires the State Bar to provide a detailed response to a state auditorís report which recommended measures for the bar to increase revenue, including putting contracts out to bid and stepping up the collection of discipline fines. The barís report to both houses of the legislature is due November 1998.

The rebate surfaced after bar officials learned that it would net $2 million more from the sale of its San Francisco building than anticipated.

The bar sold its San Francisco building on Franklin Street and is consolidating its three Bay Area offices at 180 Howard St.

At least one board member, Leon Goldin of Los Angeles, has asked that next yearís fee bill have a notation encouraging the stateís attorneys to designate their $10 rebate for the State Bar Foundation.

The foundation provides scholarships to law students who excel academically and are committed to public service.

The fee bill, SB 1145, was authored by Sen. John Burton.

In other end-of-the-session legislative news:

In addition to the fee bill, the legislature adopted a concurrent resolution honoring Mediation Week and a two-year bill dealing with arbitrator immunity, SB 19.